Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Beating The Heat Through The Devils Garden

(02-10-18)

I hate to say it, but it has been almost too hot to ride this week! (I did say, ‘almost’) Right about now those of you who are still buried under a mountain of snow are probably cursing me. 

It really has been unseasonably hot for this time of year for Southwest Florida.  According to the “weather experts” it is about 10 degrees warmer than it normally is. I can’t remember February being so hot before. Usually I am still freezing my you know what off, and I am certainly not even thinking about shorts let alone wearing them. I will try to keep my complaining to a minimum though, because after all that is why I am here in the first place.

So, with the humidity bordering on tropical rainforest and temperatures soaring into the high 80s (30s in Celsius) I tried to focus on a route where there would be as little traffic congestion as possible. 

This was the perfect day to go through the Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest and into the farmlands. Choosing this route, the most there is to see are the herds of cattle that are scattered throughout the countryside. But as I said time and again, any road with twisties is considered a very rare occurrence, maybe even a miracle. The closest I could get with this route was a few sweeping curves, but for the most part it was just straight riding over barren flatlands. The bonus was that there was little to no traffic and not one traffic light until we got back into civilization. Ideal for a day that I am convinced I could have cooked an egg on the pavement. 


Our ride totaled 156 miles (251 km) 
I had originally planned to turn on Hill Grade Rd. but apparently it is now a private road because there was a gate across it and it was closed. Or maybe the road had been washed out. That happens around here. Anyway, it was just as well, as we rode by I noticed that it was nothing more than a dirt road.


By this point we were also looking for a place to stop for a rest, ideally near some shade. Although now that we were in the area referred to as the Devils Garden I wasn’t so sure we would find any. I knew if we stopped without a little protection from the sun on a day like today we would feel exactly like we were sizzling in the fire pit of hell. Okay, maybe I am being a little dramatic, but it would be steamy. 



Finally, we caught a glimpse of some shade trees further down. There was a road but no street sign and the pavement abruptly stopped a few feet in. I later learned the road was called Dooley Grade Rd. and if we were adventurous we could have followed it through to connect to 835.

We were not that adventurous …
Dooley Grade Rd. might actually have been a fully paved road at one time. 
But now it looked more like a trail than a road, but there was shade!

After our break we continued on to find that the 833 did work its way around to the 835 and then we were back on track. It really didn’t matter that we were taken further out of our way, after all that is what riding a motorcycle is all about. As we neared Clewiston we did run into traffic again and a few lights, but before we knew it we were moving at a good speed along 27 and 80 and the heat of the day was just a warm breeze with our knees in the wind. 

At the end of the day, it was just a perfect ride to beat the heat. 

Map Directions







Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Short Ride is Better Than No Ride

(01-12-2018)

I have been in Florida for 15 days now and haven’t had the chance for a proper reunion with my motorcycle. After getting my Sporty Blue out of storage it got so damn cold out that I had no desire to ride. (I know, blasphemy!) In my defense I was still trying to thaw out from leaving the deep freeze of -37C / -34.6F in Canada. 


Bob Mason Park, LaBelle – River Rd. 
When the weather finally warmed back up again, wouldn’t you know it, I got sick! I eventually got over that unpleasantness and feeling much better now. Today I am super excited as ride day has finally arrived! 

The first ride of the season I usually refer to as the “break in ride”. It is always a familiar route, I find an initial short run helps to jump start my muscle memory and get them pliable again. Also helps the ole’ joints to unseize from all those months of not riding. 

We settled on one of our favorites, River Road towards LaBelle. It was fairly windy, although it was such a warm wind I didn’t even need my extra hoodie. I also didn’t care that there were some dark ominous clouds moving in fast. I just needed to ride. We stopped at our favorite rest stop on this route, Bob Mason Park. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the rain to start, so we decided to cut this ride really short. We did end up getting a little wet, but managed to miss most of the clouds that wanted to split open and drown us. 

I was just so happy that I had a chance to get in some wind therapy and clear the cob webs from my head that had formed over the summer. Even a short ride can re-energize the soul. 


Chirp chillin’ on the saddle bag, although he was quick to get out of the rain when it started.
(Chirp may be made of sugar lol)
FIY – In case you are wondering, Chirp is my own creation. Not to toot my own horn but I will anyway, I created the pattern and lovingly stitched him by hand. 



River Road Route from Alva to Bob Mason Park. (Our round trip was 46 miles / 74 km - Short but oh so sweet)








~~ PRESENTS TO ME ~~
Sometimes you just gotta spoil yourself. Maybe I just bought myself a few extra things because I turned 53 at the end of the year and figured I deserved it because I never thought I would make it this far LOL 

My new helmet and Harley boots are awesome.  I actually bought them a couple of months ago.  I just love my helmet, I picked it up at Royal Distributing in Barrie, ON. I could spend a fortune in that place, if I had a fortune. 


Chirp trying on the boots for size


My Harley boots I ordered online and even though I had to pay duty charges when they arrived they were worth it. 

I still have an older pair of the same boots that I still wear. I really didn’t need to “break them in” either, they were soft and comfortable the first time I put them on. 

(After my first ride, my boots now have the beginnings of the proudly worn biker toe scuff!)







I must give a Shout Out to Devas Bling who made my custom star decal for my helmet, It Rocks! 



And I would like to say a special Thank You to Lisa from BikerGirlBling.com.
I appreciated the Christmas card and was deeply touched that she added blingy hearts to put some much needed sparkle back into my life. 
(These Rhinestone Bling Hearts can also be purchased at BikerGirlBling.com) 




One cannot forget to spoil the two-wheel chariot. I have added a couple of small touches to give my bike a personal feel. 


Loving the awesome Tire Valve Caps.
Thanks a bunch for the gift Lisa! 


A bit of bling from BikersGirlBling.com This is a such a cool site to find everything motorcycle related, from accessories to clothes. It is a one stop shopping directory of motorcycle products.  

Don’t forget to check out the BikersGirlBling Blog section where you can follow interesting DIY projects, product reviews and read awesome feature stories of women and their custom rides.
(Yes, I am a little bias, I have written some feature stories for Lisa)










Steel Cowgirl silver decal on my Harley

I am a member of the Steel Cowgirl group on Facebook. This is a group that brings together women from around the world who share their passion of motorcycling. 

Regina runs the group along with the vigilant Skeeter who guarantees a drama free zone. 

Regina also offers her branded logo collection on a wide range of clothing and accessories at www.SteelCowgirl.com


The first thing I did when I got to Florida was order a T-shirt, a patch and a few decals. (I actually could have ordered them in Canada but wanted to save on the duty)


All my goodies from SteelCowgirl.com


 


Even though Chirp tried to confiscate my ‘Steel Cowgirl’ patch,
 I ultimately won the battle and sewed it on my motorcycle jacket. 

I am so looking forward to sharing another great season of wind therapy with you! 
Stay tuned for more of my riding adventures. 

New this year, Chirp will be on Instagram/thefrozencanuck.ca if you want to follow! 







Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Friday, December 22, 2017

A year to remember


I have never been one to have a lot of friends, well actually I really don’t have any at all.  I am a bonafide loner, there I said it. It is okay though, I have been like this all of my life. I even can admit that I am more comfortable behind my computer screen or riding around on my motorcycle with just my random thoughts to keep me company. 

However, when I looked back on this last year it made me realize that my blog and social platforms (Twitter & Facebook) have absolutely changed that. I actually found some amazing friendships there, even if they are just virtual.

Feeling all sentimental, I wanted to take some time to thank all of my followers over the last year who have supported my motorcycle adventure blog and have put in the effort to read my ramblings. I can hardly believe that so many people out there have actually followed me, or at least they pretend to. LOL

I also wanted to tell those of you who share our mornings together (you know who you are) that it has been great getting to know you as a friend and you guys always bring a smile to my face. I couldn’t think of a better way to start my day than to share it with you all. (I just realized how reclusive that makes me sound LOL)

It is our passion for the open road that has brought us all together and this passion brings a closeness that few can understand. It brings happiness to my life to ‘Cruise through life’ and share it with you. 

Okay, enough of the mushiness. I will be gearing up soon to start another exciting year of motorcycle adventures and look forward to sharing them with all of you.

Wishing all of you a heartfelt Merry Christmas
and a very Happy New Year!


Ride Safe my friends!
Cruising Through Life & Enjoying the Ride…




P.S. I would also like to introduce Chirp, he will be accompanying me on my riding adventures this year! I still need to find him a pair of sunglasses to complete his chillin’ look. Suggestions of where to find a pair that will fit him are welcome 😊

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It wasn't a motorcycle, but it was a pretty cool ride -Temagami

:Houseboating -Unplugged in Temagami Ontario Sept 5 – 7, 2017

My BF’s mom and sister were visiting from Germany and my BF came up with the idea of renting a houseboat. It would certainly be something different to experience and none of us had ever been on one. I admit that I was skeptical about going on a houseboat, especially this time of year after having a summer of cold temperatures and massive amounts of rain. Personally, I am not a boat fan, I prefer two wheels on the ground, but you probably have guessed that. (wink) None the less I was on-board with the plan. 

Temagami, Ontario – Leisure Island Houseboats
Temagami is about a 2 ½ hour drive from us, making it a perfect location that wasn’t too far to travel to. We booked the 3-day, 2-night trip for the day after Labour day. 

We rented the houseboat from Leisure Island Houseboat Rentals The owners Mike & Gwen Drenth were very friendly and helpful. I highly recommend them!

My BF’s sister also wanted to try her luck at fishing, so we ended up having to go back into Temagami to get a fishing license. It was just a short drive back onto the main street and gave me a chance to snap a few pics of the area. 
Temagami Information Center

Cute Moose!

By the way, having to get a fishing license is a rip off, because she was not from Ontario (which would be only slightly cheaper) they charged $25 for 1 day! 


Heading Out On Our Voyage
Docked at Leisure Island Houseboat Rentals
By the time we loaded up the boat with our gear it was around 2 pm. The first thing I noticed was that the houseboat was very clean. It also had pretty much everything you needed, except for a shower. We all missed not having a shower, but we made due with wet wipes and boiling a kettle of water to clean up in a basin. This probably wouldn’t be a big deal in the warm summer months where a dip in the lake could have refreshed one’s body. But hey, it is to be expected to “rough” it a little when you go camping.  The cabin was comfortable enough for the four of us, even though it was somewhat ‘close quarters’.  I had no complaints and found the coziness just added to the ambiance. 


 We actually arrived a lot later than we had planned and the overcast sky didn’t look very promising. As we headed out, to our delight the sky began to clear. It actually turned out to be quite a nice afternoon. There wasn’t much boat traffic either. With the kids all back to school, it was the perfect time for our little trip. I was prepared with my Gravol, (motion sickness pills) but I soon realized that houseboats are not like a regular boat at all. Not only are they slow with only a 9 hp motor, they are very steady with minimal rocking on the water. Sure, if a boat passed there was a slight heave back and forth, but for the most part we chugged along gliding smoothly across the water.






1st Night Campsite

The scenery was breathtaking and dozens of little tiny islands poked out along the way. The buoys marked a clear path where to maneuver around any potential hazards. We had our choice of campsites to dock at, however finding them along the shores proved very challenging. I recommend bringing binoculars! Thankfully we did, but we still had to creep up fairly close along the shores to actually spot those tiny orange diamond shaped markers that were posted on the trees. 

It was going on 5 pm before we pulled up to our first campsite, it was in a slight cove and provided shelter from any wake that a passing boat would make. 

After docking we went on land to get a campfire started. There was plenty of dead wood nearby in the thick bush to get one started. We managed to get a nice fire going and were enjoying the spectacular views from the elevated vantage point. 

Spectacular views

Nestled in a cove

He was happy to keep to his side of the rock
The Campfire

Soon the dark clouds moved in and opened up, driving us to the shelter of the houseboat. The downpour didn’t dampen our spirits and we fired up the BBQ and had supper. 
After supper we watched the beautiful moon on the horizon
I had visions of my teeth chattering and shivering myself silly all night, but surprisingly the houseboat was well insulated and we didn’t even need to light the furnace. 

The next morning brought an amazing sunrise with mist that shimmered off the lake.


Loons 

Temagami Island Hike
Temagami Island
After breakfast, we headed out again. We were on the hunt to find Temagami Island where there is a hiking trail. We managed to pass the island the first time around but eventually got back on track and found the ‘landing’ site. Keep in mind that you won’t find any sandy beaches here, the shorelines are rugged and rocky. 

Docked at Temagami Island


The trail was not really marked as well as the brochure lead us to believe, and our 3-km hike turned into 6 km. In some places, there was a hint of other trails but we kept to what looked like a road instead. Even on this well groomed portion of the trail the markers were sparse and it appeared that we had started the trail backward when we actually encountered one. 

The things we passed along the trail were not what any of us expected to see.
We caught a glimpse of Rust-aptor 

And then passed by a Rust-o-saurus
Nestled deep in the wood we later came across this rare VW-chameleon 
However, there were some spectacular views and more natural backdrops to enjoy along the way.

I have no idea what plant this is, but it is interesting


When we arrived at a deserted Summer Camp along the water’s edge we rested on the dock and enjoyed the views. 
Amazing crystal clear waters
We tried to find another marker that would lead us back in a loop like the map had described but it became clear that none existed. After following a trail that just led further into the camp we decided it best to go back the way we came to guarantee that we find the houseboat again. 


Leaving Temagami Island

A Poor Choice for a Campsite
Looks can be deceiving and this spot was too busy to stay the night

Back on-board we chugged along again to search out our next campsite for the night. Navigating was a little tricky, we were told that most cottages would have a ‘T’ number and by identifying these numbers you could judge on the map where you were. Even with binoculars it was hard to read the tiny number signs if you were far from the shoreline. Most docks we passed didn’t even have a number, or at least we never saw one. It became a team effort and in a way, it actually made our journey challenging and fun.
Docked
We finally spotted a campsite and shortly after we tied off we realized this spot was a big mistake. We happened to be directly in a major route for boat traffic. (Gwen had warned us about this) We hardly saw any boats up until this point. However, in this spot boats were whizzing by us steadily and our poor little houseboat was being tossed around like a beanbag.  At times, it felt like I was riding a roller coaster. It didn’t take long for all of us to agree that we better move along and find somewhere less travelled. 
Off to find a better spot
2nd Night Campsite
Can you find the orange marker on the tree?
Close to shore using the zoom feature!
Shortly afterwards we found another campsite that was across from Bear Island. Again, the orange marker wasn’t so easy to see, but we managed. Unfortunately, the rain came quicker than we thought, even thunder rumbled around our heads. At least before the rain came I managed to get some nice pictures of the surrounding landscape. 

Campfire area



The BF collected some birch bark laying around and lit a small fire just to say that we had a little campfire before it started to rain.  





All snug on-board we fired up the BBQ once again and had a nice meal. I didn’t think this spot was as nice as the first night’s campsite. The location had awesome views, but that night I was startled awake by the houseboat banging against the rocky shore. 
Breakfast with the Ducks
The next morning was on the chilly side and the sky was threatening more rain. My BF and I sat on the front deck drinking our morning caffeine fix and three ducks came by to visit. He tossed them a bun for their breakfast.  (For the record, I was bundled up and had gloves on) 

The Picnic Spot that never was

After our own breakfast, we started to head back as our trip was nearing an end. The plan was to have picnic at another campsite and roast sausages over a campfire. We found a nice spot that we had actually noticed on our way up the lake the first day and docked. As we climbed up to the campfire spot the wind had picked up and had gotten quite chilly. Even a fire wouldn’t keep us warm enough in the elevated open area and we headed back to the houseboat.
It would have made for a nice picnic spot, even came with a hammock
More awesome views


Amenities at this campsite included a Public Washroom Tree!


There was no actual building that was found…just a tree

Journeys End
As we headed back it continued to drizzle on and off and I mostly stayed in the cabin to keep warm. By the time we docked back at Leisure Island Houseboats the sun came out long enough for us to unload our gear. I can’t complain, the weather cooperated somewhat and we were lucky to have had that one full day of sunshine and warm temperatures for our hike. Even the rain we encountered in a way was timed perfectly. 

I was surprised that I actually liked it as much as I did, I even managed to be totally unplugged for three whole days! No cell phone, no laptop, I hardly missed having communication with the outside world, I did say ‘hardly’.  I didn’t even have a radio! (In retrospect, it would have been nice to listen to a radio, the silence at times left my ears buzzing). We all agreed that the three-day trip was plenty for us.  The first thing we did when we got home, we all took a turn in the shower!



Oh, and no fish were harmed or even caught during this trip. 

Even though this adventure wasn’t on a motorcycle, I have to admit, it turned out to be a pretty cool ride.